Karapatan

Military told to stop coddling suspected murderers

Karapatan decries the continuing custody of former Air Force colonel and Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) leader Red Kapunan by the military. 
 
Kapunan is one of the primary suspects in the murder of the then chair of Kilusang Mayo Uno, Atty. Rolando Olalia, and his driver, Leonor Alay-ay, in November 1986.  The murders of Olalia and student activist Lean Alejandro were premised as an attempt to derail the Corazon Aquino administration.
 
“We are not surprised at all at this collusion between the military and its former ward.  The suspected perpetrators of the Cadapan-Empeno kidnapping, Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado and S/Sgt. Edgardo Osorio, were also placed under military custody instead of putting them in a civilian jail, much to our vehement objections. But we are more appalled by the inaction of the Commander–in-Chief Noynoy Aquino against this highly irregular practice,”  Cristina Palabay, Karapatan Secretary General said.
 

Karapatan keeps fight vs Cybercrime law, calls attention of UN

Karapatan, on October 8, 2012, brought the issue of the Cybercrime law to the attention of the United Nations, through Mr. Frank La Rue, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and Ms. Margaret Sekaggya, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.

While the Supreme Court has issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) for the implementation of the Cybercrime law for 120 days, “the people must remain vigilant against all possible maneuvers by the Aquino government to implement the said law,” said Karapatan secretary general, Cristina Palabay.  

The letter of complaint sent to the United Nations asked the Special Rapporteurs to urge and recommend to the Government of the Philippines to junk the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 and other similar measures, such as the Anti-Terrorism Act, that suppress civil liberties and human rights; and for the Aquino government to take measures to respect and uphold the freedom of speech, expression and of the press.  

Political prisoners now more than 400, Daughter of a desaparecido latest victim

As of September 30, 2012, Karapatan has documented a total of 401 political prisoners in various detention facilities all over the country. Jimmylisa Badayos, daughter of desaparecido Jimmy Badayos,  and Calixto Vistal are among the latest victims of the government’s practice of abduction and illegal detention.
 
On October 5, Badayos and Vistal, were accosted by members of the AFP Military Intelligence Group of Camp Lapu-Lapu and the PNP-Criminal Intelligence Bureau of Camp Sotero Cabahug in Cebu City. The two were at the gates of the EuroForest Products Industries, Inc. in Mandaue City, Cebu when they were accosted and forced to board a waiting vehicle.  They resisted but they were ganged up. Badayos was even physically manhandled by one of the abductors. Her shoulder bag was also taken from her and, she would later find out that the military had planted a gun in it and had shown this to media.
 
Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said that, “it has been a year, in September 2011, since Malacanang publicly echoed  Ferdinand Marcos’ statement  that “there are no political prisoners” in the country. Since then, 55 more people were arrested and detained for trumped up criminal charges.”  
 

No assurance for human rights with new generation of trapo

As the filing of candidacy ends today, Karapatan mourned the final line up of those running for public office, especially the senatorial candidates as they “are almost the same people, of the same lineage, and from the same brand of politics, who just sat down on the bills like the Indemnification of Marcos’ human rights victims, anti-Enforced Disappearance and the bill for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan. 

“These traditional politicians and so-called newbies, but of the same trapo mold, shamelessly flaunt the “alliance for reform” among the Liberal, Nationalista parties and UNA coalition. This alliance obviously promotes the culture of impunity in the country. Those who should be held accountable for their crimes against the people since martial law; those who approved the promotion of the Arroyo military officials with pending human rights cases before the courts; those who refuse to recognize the existence of political prisoners; those who said nothing on the continuing extrajudicial killings; and those who signed the Cybercrime law, now known as e-martial law, sit side by side with those who supposedly fought martial law, and uphold and protect human rights. How can we curb impunity with this kind of line up of candidates?” added Palabay. 

Climate of impunity worsens with recent killings

While the nation watched the festive frolic as traditional politicians and their families filed their certificates of candidacy at the Commission on Elections and, netizens rage over the passing of the Cybercrime Law, extrajudicial killings continue, worsening the climate of impunity in the country.” thus said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan, as the human rights group received reports on two cases of extrajudicial killings in the past two days.
 
In Tarlac, on the month of the observance of the rights and welfare of children, a fourteen-year-old child was felled by a bullet from the arbitrary firing of policemen who reinforced the team out to demolish the houses at   Block 7, San Roque, Tarlac on October 2, 2012. John Khali Lagrimas was hit by a stray bullet that fell on the rooftop of their furniture shop.  He was declared dead on arrival at the Ramos General Hospital in Tarlac City.
 
The 100-member demolition team arrived at the site with some 100 policemen, headed by Tarlac City Police Chief Col. Arnel Ramos. They were armed with M16 and 45 caliber pistols. Aside from the police, there were also 8 Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) men in full battle gear and two fire trucks.  Around 70 residents, who are members of the San Roque Neighborhood Association, barricaded the place.  The policemen fired their guns while the demolition was on going to intimidate the protesters.
The Block 7 San Roque site is the subject of a land dispute being heard at the Regional Trial Court Branch 63 of Tarlac City.  No court order on the demolition was shown the residents.
 
On the following day, October 3, another killing took place in San Nicolas, Puntod, Cagayan de Oro City.  Gilbert  Paborada, Chairperson of Pangalasag (indigenous shield), was shot dead  by motorcycle-riding-in- tandem assassins as he alighted from a motorela (public tricycle).  He sustained five gunshot wounds allegedly coming from a 45-caliber pistol.
 

Cybercrime law violates Intl rights obligations of Aquino Govt

Karapatan today joined activists, netizens, journalists, bloggers, organizations and individuals in a protest action in front of the Supreme Court, to call on the high court to declare the Cybercrime Law unconstitutional; as the measure, which is due to take effect on Oct.3, “poses serious threats to the right to privacy, freedom of speech and expression, among other civil and political rights.” 
 
Members of the organization flashed tablets with electronic posters tagging the Cybercrime Law as a form of “e-martial law,” likening the law to the forms of suppression on civil and political rights by the military dictatorship imposed by former Pres. Ferdinand Marcos.
 
Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general and one of those who filed a petition in the Supreme Court questioning the constitutionality of the Cybercrime Act, said that aside from the law’s provisions on libel, the said measure gives free rein on authorities to monitor internet traffic data of internet users and to take down sites which they deem “libelous.” 
 

Cybercrime law another affront to human rights

Karapatan today said that the government deserves all the criticisms and protests generated by the Cybercrime Prevention law that was passed on September 12, a few days before the commemoration of the 40th year of martial law imposition.

“Gauging from the reactions of the netizens, the government failed to achieve the chilling effect with the cybercrime law, that now paves the way for e-martial law. Still, citizens and human rights defenders, especially those with advocacies that utilize the internet as a platform, become increasingly vulnerable to harassment by the government; unless the law is junked,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan.

Karapatan echoed the position of the online users that the Cybercrime law violates the people’s Constitutional rights as the law infringes on the rights to free speech and privacy. “Many people have been killed, disappeared, arrested and tortured under the Noynoy Aquino government because they speak out the truth, they criticize government policies that are detrimental to the people. Now, the government has brought its battle against the people on the cyberspace.” 

Aquino Govt writes off HR violations for $13M US aid

Karapatan today criticized the Aquino government as “it continues to peddle lies on the human rights situation in the international community, through the Universal Periodic Review process at the United Nations and, the recent visit of Dept. of Justice Sec. Leila de Lima at the United States, in exchange for US military assistance.” 

“Human rights defenders, victims and their relatives, and communities under military attack can attest to the prevailing, if not more emboldened, climate of impunity under Aquino. While the GPH officials claimed at the UN and, among US parliamentarians, that the Aquino government is taking concrete steps to address extrajudicial killings and; that they do not promote the culture of impunity, indigenous peoples’ leader Genesis Ambason was shot and tortured to death by paramilitary groups in Agusan del Sur last week,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan.

According to Karapatan, Ambason is the 112th victim of extrajudicial killings under the Aquino administration. Among these are nine children who were victims of EJK, three of them killed during the AFP operations in Maguindanao this August 2012. Also, rampant military operations are conducted in mineral and resource-rich areas to suppress the opposition mounted by farmers and indigenous peoples against the entry of big foreign mining and business operations. 

Palabay said “this parody of lies by the Aquino government is meant to justify the release of the more than $13 million in US military assistance to the GPH, which was blocked since 2008, when international solidarity groups brought to fore the issues of extrajudicial killings and other rights violations in the Philippines.”

Aquino should correct history of ML rights victims, pass indemnification bill now

“Bongbong’s declaration of his presidential ambition and his statement that he considers himself part of the administration by virtue of the LP-NP alliance are both repulsive signs that the vestiges of the impunity persists from Martial Law up to the present Aquino administration. The Marcoses, up to now, are not held accountable for their crimes during the martial law and thus, they sashayed back to positions of power. This impunity is among the results of the continued denial of the Aquino government to render justice to the martial law victims, even its barest  form—the passage of the Indemnification bill which, has already gathered dust in Congress,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan. 

Palabay added that, “if this will be part of history which will be recorded by the Martial Law Historical Advisory Committee that was recently created by Pres. Aquino, he should act now, pass the Marcos Victims Compensation bill and correct part of the history of the martial law victims.”

Guatemala demolition shows bias vs the poor

Human rights group Karapatan today slammed the forced eviction and violent demolition of homes of some 256 families at Guatemala Street, Brgy. San Isidro in Makati City, as they called on Mayor Jejomar “Junjun” Binay Jr. and the Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas to immediately stop such operations in the area, including the arrests of residents who participated in the protests yesterday.

Based on the initial report of Karapatan-National Capital Region, eight individuals were arrested, after the residents barricaded the entrances to their community to prevent the local government’s demolition teams and the police from demolishing their homes. The said eviction was conducted to pave the way for the construction of a multi-million peso community complex and basketball court in the area.

Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general, said “the actions of the city government show how inhumane local government officials are in treating urban poor communities, in exchange for such paltry projects at the expense of the people’s rights to livelihood and decent housing.” 

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